Scottish food and drink exports reached a record high of over £4bn during 2009, according to a report released this week.

The official HM Revenue & Customs export statistics showed a 20% rise in food product sales to £934m, while combined total international sales for Scottish food and drink increased by 6% to £4.06bn.

Seafood exports led the way, with international sales increasing by 20% to £555m, assisted by strong demand for Scottish salmon, which enjoyed total export sales valued at £285m (fresh, frozen and smoked).

Scotch whisky remained the most important exported product, with exports up 3% in value to £3.13bn last year, with particularly strong sales to France, the US, Brazil and South Africa.

Overall, the top three markets for Scottish food and drink were the USA, France and Spain, although there was increased demand from The Netherlands, Germany and Russia.

“The industry deserves tremendous credit for making considerable progress towards reaching ambitious growth targets and laying the foundations for even more success,” Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said.

“We will shortly unveil detailed plans for a year-long celebration of Scotland’s produce, to enhance our reputation as a land of food and drink.”